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Seven killed in Turkish drone strikes on PKK members in northern Iraq

ERBIL (Reuters) - Turkish drone strikes on Thursday killed seven members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) including two medical personnel, in Iraq's northern province of Erbil, the counter-terrorism service said, as Turkey's foreign minister visited the region.

Three PKK fighters were killed in Sidakan district when a Turkish drone struck their vehicle, the counter-terrorism service said in a statement earlier on Thursday.

Another drone strike killed four PKK members, including two medical personnel also in Sidakan area a few hours later, the counter-terrorism service said in another statement later in the day.

The attacks took place as Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan was in Erbil meeting top Kurdish officials, including President Nechervan Barzani and Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

On Tuesday, in a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Fidan urged Iraq to designate the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Turkey regularly carries out air strikes in northern Iraq and has dozens of outposts on Iraqi territory but has stepped up its drone attacks in recent days, striking closer to urban areas and on main roads.

The PKK, which has bases around northern Iraq, is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union. The group launched an insurgency in southeast Turkey in 1984 in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

(Reporting by Ali Sultan and Amina Ismail; Editing by Sandra Maler)